Countdown to the 22nd Byron Writers Festival (‘Where Stories Take You’) and once again the Festival brochure is out, whetting our appetite for all things creative, in a writerly fashion!
In numerology (something I’ve embraced over the last few years - after all – I do live in Byron) the Number 22 ‘signifies the most powerful of all numbers, able to turn lofty dreams into realities. It is confident, pragmatic, ambitious and disciplined’.
Edwina Johnson, Director, describes the upcoming Festival as “… an examination of how we live both on a personal level and as a society. It offers writers and patrons alike an opportunity to reflect our world back to each other in story. It examines everything from how we communicate, how we migrate, how we farm, how we cope with grief, how we process change - how we live now resonates throughout Festival sessions.”
And let me point out that Byron Writers Festival is not just a three day event, hosting a line up of 140 ‘writers and thinkers’ – the lead up to the Festival-proper with Feature Events (some of them FREE) and Workshops, prior and concurrent to the main event, is also very exciting. Something for everyone and everyone for something! With such a meeting of minds and a program festooned with features, if you cannot find inspiration here, well...
What would theatre be without strong writing? How would a song be sung without poetry and lyrics? The word is out: without words we would just be grunting at each other – and who wants basic grunting (for that, we can watch question time in parliament, ha ha ha!).
I’d rather hear: Lemn Sissay, ‘poet, playwright, occasional broadcaster and consummate performer’ in conversation with Richard Fidler. Lemn was awarded an MBE for services to literature by the Queen (and is Chancellor of the Uni of Manchester and a TEDx alumnus). ‘Wonderbabes’ (powerful and hard-hitting) by Kate McDowell (NORPA production) for a shake-rattle and roll; or turn up (for a gold coin donation) to witness Australian Poetry Slam – Byron Heat, at the Byron Bay Library. Bedtime Stories and Live Storytelling at the Byron Theatre; Writers at the Rails and Art in the Pub (both free events). Want a laugh? Go no further than Women Like Us: The Show with our own super-humans Mandy Nolan and Ellen Briggs. These are just some of the feature events.
Workshops can pre-inspire and Books to Screen: Turning a Book into a TV series (Screenworks) can give those budding playwrights and authors the impetus to create their own vehicle for new works. Tracey Moffatt, Visual Artist, will ‘Dismantle the Conventions of Storytelling’ at the Festival and Eskil Engdal and Kjetil Saeter (two investigative journalists) take their ‘Nordic noir’ detective series ‘Catching Thunder’ to the greater audience of the Byron Writers Festival. ‘Song Writing’ with Bernard Fanning and Tim Rogers will have us singing in the aisles and ‘Finding Where We Belong’ (with Future D Fidel, his play-turned-to-book, ‘Prize Fighter’) are a small entree to the feast that is the 22nd Byron Writers Festival.
So much to witness and so little time: notebook in hand and many ideas swimming in my head already, I can’t wait for the gates to open so I can cruise around the beautiful grounds, sampling this and absorbing that, with such a diverse and infinite inspirational palette for my palate. Enjoy!
The 2018 Byron Writers Festival runs from 3–5 August 2018. Visit byronwritersfestival.com
Top left – Tracey Moffatt. Cover – Edwina Johnson. Photo – Kate Holmes.